Here is a post from my Formspring page that I thought might be helpful. I’m no longer using Formspring for questions these days. Head on over to my Tumblr if you have a question that you’d like to see answered on Pop Culture Christ.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying they ‘feel as though God’s calling them’ in a certain direction. How can I ‘hear’ from God about big life decisions, like whether to go to bible college or change careers?
The language of calling to specific roles or directions is not something we find in the Bible. What we do find is a calling to godliness. “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) God calls you to live a life that brings glory to God. And because we believe that God is in complete control over this world, we know there is nothing we can do to disrupt his plans for salvation in this world. So what decisions should we make in life? Well, in some respects, it doesn’t matter. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul. In everything you do, bring glory to God. So make decisions that honour God. If both your choices bring glory to God, then choose the one you like best. Because God will use you no matter what. We are free to choose.
Because God has freed us to choose, we should be careful when it comes to “listening” for God’s call. He doesn’t promise us he will speak to us and direct us in this way. What he has promised is that if we listen to his Word, the Bible, we will know how to be one of his people and how to live like one of his people. As long as we follow this direction, we are free to live and make decisions as we choose.
Over the last year or so, Greyson Chance has been positioning himself as the younger, cuter, and newer version of Justin Bieber. At 14, he’s a Youtube sensation and has his own album out. Unfriend You is his latest single. It’s your stock standard song about teenage heartbreak clothed in enough modern day lingo that it appears fresh and speaks to a new generation. And while there is nothing remarkable in the lyrics or the film clip, it’s the marketing of Chance and the part he plays in current trends that has me concerned.
For a while I’ve been playing around with Formspring, a site where people can ask you questions and you post the answers to your public page. It’s a site I like… in theory. In practice, I’ve found it clogged up with spam and frivolous information. Originally I joined up to Formspring to interact with authors I enjoy. Now many of them have stopped using Formspring. And now they’re using Tumblr. And from now on, that’s what I’m going to do as well. I already use Tumblr for posting random thoughts and links. I check it regularly and interact with it. And they have a function that works the same as Formspring. So if you have a question that you would like to see me ask, you can either go to my Tumblr page or go direct to my question page. Just like Formspring, there is still the ability to ask questions anonymously.
Is there a question you’d like to see answered on Pop Culture Christ? Is there a movie or song that you would like to see me comment on? Head over to Tumblr and ask away!
Here is a post from my Formspring page that I thought might be helpful.
Does the Bible have any other names for the devil?
Sure. There’s the Serpent in Genesis 2-3. Satan in passages such as Job 1. Beelzebul in Matthew 12. Prince of the Power of the Air in Ephesians 2. The Evil One in Ephesians 6. The Dragon in Revelation 12. And I’m sure there are many more.
Starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones
If you were checking out the racks of magazines and comic books in December 1940, you might have caught a glimpse of a brand new comic book called Captain America Comics. On the cover was an image of a man dressed in an American flag themed costume punching Hitler in the face. Which was pretty forward thinking of the artist, considering the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II was still a full year away. Here was the very image of American freedom and pride in action. Since then, Captain America has been front and center amongst the pantheon of Marvel superheroes. So it was inevitable that Captain America would get his turn to shine as part of the Marvel Comics onslaught of the silver screen.
So here’s Captain America: The First Avenger. A lot could go wrong here. This is a superhero adventure movie set during WWII that also has to act as the next chapter in the ongoing Marvel movie continuity already set up by Thor, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk. A lot could have gone wrong. But it doesn’t. What we have here is a film that manages to be a tight, heart-felt adventure that is one of the most consistently good superhero movies ever made.
Here is a post from my Formspring page that I thought might be helpful.
What should I do if I’m not feeling encouraged to go back to my church?
Is the problem with you or the church? Is the church preaching the Scriptures? Are they working towards growing in the knowledge and love of God? If the answer is yes, then the problem may lie within your heart. Church is the people of God meeting together to encourage each other and bring glory to God. So there is a heavy emphasis there on you to do the encouraging.
Is church a place where you go to build up others? Is church a place you go to encourage people in their Christian life? Is church a place you go to serve? If you’re not doing these things, then it doesn’t matter where you go to church- the problems will follow you.
Be the encourager. Be an example. And then see, over time, if church is a place where you feel encouraged as well.
For a long time I couldn’t work out why I would want to use Tumblr. For those unfamiliar with the site, Tumblr is a place where you can easily share… well anything. Links, photos, thoughts, etc. For me, I couldn’t see the use. I already had a blog where I could do all of that.
But then my life changed. I graduated from college and stopped being a full time student. I began working full time for my church, as well as additional writing and speaking gigs for other organisations. The amount of time and energy I had for writing reviews and commenting on pop culture suddenly decreased. And the content for Pop Culture Christ started slowing down. I wanted to write more, but it just wasn’t happening for me.
And that’s when Tumblr sparked my interest. I’m always coming across things that I want to share, but either they don’t fit the criteria of a Pop Culture Christ post or I don’t have the time to write an article on it but want to get it out there anyway. Tumblr works for me because I can keep getting content out there without having to sit down to write an 800 word article.
Does this mean the end of Pop Culture Christ? Most certainly not! Pop Culture Christ will continue to exist as a place where I upload sermons and write reviews and Christian themed articles. I’m hoping that as I get more into the rhythms of full time parish life that I’ll be able to commit to writing even more. But if you want the full experience, follow me on Tumblr. I’m having a lot of fun. And if you like the kinds of things I like, I’m sure you’ll have fun as well.
Check out my Tumblr page. Do you use Tumblr? Let me know in the comments. I’d be keen to check out your Tumblr as well.
I grew up Catholic. My parents had me baptised in a Roman Catholic Church when I was a baby. The priest tried to baptise me as “John” because Joel wasn’t Christian enough. I attended a Catholic primary school, where I also served as an altar boy at the church attached to the school. Putting on a robe, carrying a candle, and helping the priest do communion was preferable to sitting through the service. Even back in those days I was easily bored.
By the time I was 15 I was preparing myself to walk away from the Roman Catholic Church. My experience of the church didn’t match with my experience of the world. I began to feel that Jesus was a fictional story and that the church existed as a quaint little throwback that stood in the way of me discovering the truth behind the universe. I started to explore new age beliefs. Until one day, when I was 17, a friend introduced me to the Jesus of the Bible. Not long after this, I welcomed Jesus as my saviour and joined a Protestant church.
I share my story with you because the book I’m reviewing is on a subject that is close to me. The Road Once Travelled by Mark Gilbert (with Cecily Paterson) is written for people within the Roman Catholic Church who are feeling disillusioned. The aim is to address their concerns and point to the real Jesus of the Bible as the answer to their problems. This is the kind of book that is theoretically aimed right at 17-year-old Joel. So in reviewing The Road Once Travelled, both 31-year-old Joel and 17-year-old Joel will weigh in with their views.
Have you ever sat in church or had a conversation with a Christian and wondered when they stopped speaking English? One second they’re speaking perfectly normal, then all of a sudden they start using strange words and you’re wondering if this is what Swahili sounds like. Just like any other group of people, Christians have their own lingo. Words and phrases that we use that are particular to us. And there’s usually nothing wrong with those words. But sometimes we forget to explain what they mean to the new guys. Or even worse, we use them ourselves without ever learning what they actually mean. Every now and again I stop myself and ask “What does this actually mean?”
I can’t hear the word “holy” without thinking about the old Batman TV show from the 60s. Each week, Batman and his youthful side-kick Robin would fight the colourful criminals of Gotham City. And each week Robin would exclaim some variation of his catch phrase – Holy Fate Worse Than Death – Holy Mechanical Marvel, Holy Diversionary Tactics. It just wouldn’t be Robin if he didn’t use the word “holy” so often you’d think he was getting a commission. But what does the word actually mean?